Crucial Schmooze, the first full-length LP from the local band The Big Big Bucks, has been circulating the underground Boston music scene for months now. When I say “underground,” I mean the band hasn’t officially released the album yet and only a few lucky listeners have a copy.
A release date is in the works for the new year, but until then The Bucks will be touring around Boston and the East coast. The band’s shows are what have generated the buzz for the album. The guys make an effort to be heard, playing far more local gigs than other Boston bands that abide by an unsigned two-week and sometimes one-month rule in order to not lose attendance. It’s a commonality of the Boston music scene: Bands don’t want to play shows lined up too close together and risk the chance of being too familiar to local bookers and crowds.
The Bucks seem to be a band more worried about quality than quantity.
Crucial Schmooze deserves the buzz. The album took years to prepare and finish; the progression and flow from track to track are evidence that the band spent careful time finding the right sound. With blunt lyrics like Pavement’s and dragging vocals like Kurt Cobain’s, the album showcases the group’s personal experiences with post-college life and being in a band.
The intro track, “Lemons and Limes,” wastes no time informing the listener of the band’s style. Beginning abruptly, the song shoots right into every part of the four-piece band, rebelling against the typical intro track and allowing no space for an instrumental “welcome” to the album. The song tells a story of a troubled girl struggling with identity. “Lemons and Limes” demonstrates the lead singer’s ability to capture the essence of the characters in his stories. The use of pronouns in the lyrics helps listeners relate to the singer because there are no specific people named in most of the songs, allowing listeners to draw from stories in their own lives.
The best string of songs on Crucial Schmooze are tracks three, four, and five. “New Socks, New Sneaks” is another teenage-true track about girls and materialism. “Summer Bummer” and “Do It or Die It” are two songs that weave signature lines between catchy guitar riffs and constant beats, similar to popular Weezer tracks. “Do It or Die It” magnifies a sloppy relationship with lines like “Take me home, I’m done / You get Pushy when you’re drunk / And like all the best improv / Your lines are worst rehearsed.” All three songs reach past the local music scene and into mainstream realm by featuring memorable lines and melodies.
Changing the speed and tone of the album, track seven, “Midwest Twister” picks up the pace and features louder, more abrasive vocals. It shows a harder side of the band–especially juxtaposed with track eight, “Two For You.” Embellished with strung out guitar chords and lighter singing, “Two For You” is the carefree song you play when you’re getting over a long weekend on a Sunday afternoon.
The last three tracks of the album are yet another combination of style and sound. Technical and full of detail, “Sweaty and Desperate” mixes themes of alcohol and romance. The following track, “Plug In Your Gun” is another harder-sounding song about the lows and highs of band life and social settings. Memorable due to its swirly Pulp Fiction-like guitar riffs and the line “Hold me on your hips when strangers talk,” the song demands that listeners take notice.
“Loveseat” caps the album off right, with a dreamy adieu and thanks to a lost romantic interest. Although the melodic track is about a couple, it fits perfectly at the end of Crucial Schmooze, bidding a final farewell to Bucks fans.
Check out a list of Bucks shows and stream Crucial Schmooze in full at http://thebigbigbucks.battlemounta.in/shows.